COA asks City Hall to utilize P44.2M disaster prep fund

By: Gerome Dalipe

THE Commission on Audit (COA) has urged the Iloilo City Government to maximize the use of allocations for disaster preparedness and response capability programs.

This, after the City Government failed to fully utilize its Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund (LDRRMF) budget amounting to P44.20-million in 2018.

In its 2018 annual audit report, the auditors said the City Hall utilized only P35.24-million, or just 44.36 percent last year from the LDRRMF budget totaling to P79, 453,917.71 for 2018.

The non-utilization of 55.64 percent of the 70 percent appropriated for mitigation and preparedness and the low utilization of the special trust fund indicated that the implementation was not properly monitored.

“Failure to fully utilize the amount appropriated hindered the implementation of various programs and activities could enhance disaster preparedness and strengthen response capabilities,” read the COA report.

The City Government has allotted about P113.50-million for disaster preparedness programs. Of the amount, at least P34.05-million for the 30 percent Quick Response Fund (QRF) and P79.45-million for the 70 percent mitigation, prevention and preparedness.

But 30 percent Quick Response Fund was not utilized since Iloilo City was not affected by calamity in 2018.

Likewise, the City utilized only P26.77-million or 19.49 percent of the total budget for Special Trust Fund amounting to P137, 358,008 in 2018.

Thus, the unutilized amount of P44.20-million of the mitigation and preparedness, and the unused QRF of P34.05-million totaling to unutilized budget of P78.26-million.

The above amount was intended for the 70 percent mitigation and preparedness activities, thus leaving the underutilized amount of P44.20-million, or about 55.65 percent.

The unimplemented available resources could have enhanced the disaster preparedness and strengthen response capabilities of the City Government, pursuant to COA Circular 2012-002 dated Sept. 12, 2012.

In their report, the auditors recommended to the City Government to maximize the utilization of fund for disaster preparedness and response capabilities.

The disaster risk officer also agreed to oversee and closely monitor the implementation of the agency’s program implementation.